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Understanding the Significance of the Atonement: Insights from 2 Nephi 9


2 Nephi 9 stands as a testament to the transformative power of the Atonement and the infinite love of God for His children.

The chapter serves as a beacon of hope, guiding individuals towards a deeper appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the path to eternal life.

Through a careful study of this doctrinally rich chapter, believers are invited to reflect on the profound implications of the Atonement in their lives and to embrace the salvation offered through the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


The Atonement of Jesus Christ stands as a foundational doctrine in Christianity, particularly within the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Delving into the profound teachings of 2 Nephi 9 provides a deeper understanding of the necessity and implications of the Atonement. This chapter, a doctrinal powerhouse, emphasizes the mercy, grace, and infinite love of God in providing a way for humanity to escape the grasp of sin and death.


2 Nephi 9 opens a thought-provoking discussion on what would have happened if Jesus had not performed the Atonement. The scenario presented in the chapter challenges readers to contemplate a world devoid of Christ’s sacrifice, leading to a stark realization that without the Atonement, humanity would be doomed to eternal separation from God. The chapter vividly illustrates the consequences of such a reality, painting a grim picture of being subject to Satan and devoid of any degree of glory.


The teachings in 2 Nephi 9 underscore the pivotal role of the Atonement in bridging the gap between fallen humanity and a loving God. Through the lens of this chapter, readers are reminded of the wisdom and mercy of God in implementing a plan for redemption. The profound gratitude expressed by Jacob in the chapter resonates with believers, highlighting the immense goodness of God in providing a path for salvation through Jesus Christ.


Furthermore, the chapter juxtaposes the greatness of God with the cunning and frailties of men, emphasizing the importance of hearkening to divine counsel. The contrast drawn between the wisdom of God and the foolishness of human understanding serves as a cautionary tale, urging individuals to seek spiritual wisdom for eternal life. 2 Nephi 9 serves as a poignant reminder of the need to align with God’s righteous path and to turn away from sin, embracing the salvation offered through the Atonement.


The repeated use of the word “oh” throughout the chapter signifies Jacob’s deep emotional response to the profound truths he is imparting. Each “oh” serves as a heartfelt expression of gratitude, awe, and urgency in conveying the importance of understanding and embracing the Atonement. This linguistic device adds a layer of intensity to the message, emphasizing the critical nature of the Atonement in the lives of believers.

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Hey, guys, what’s up? Derek here from BOM Socks with more BOM Bites, where we feast upon the words of Christ, one bite at a time. So several years ago, I remember walking into an institute class. This had to be close to 30 years ago. I walked into an institute class, and the teacher had an interesting question on the board that he wanted us to address. Now, here is what he had on the board. He said, Suppose for just a moment that Jesus had either become unwilling or unworthy to perform the atonement for you and I. Now, that’s a grand supposition because that obviously didn’t happen. But he was just trying to get us to think about What would have happened to us? Here are some options to consider, and he had these options right here. He had option A, the highest degree of glory we would be able to achieve would be the celestial kingdom, still the highest degree of glory, but it would take us a lot longer because we would have to suffer for our own sins, so we would get there without Jesus. B, the highest degree of glory we’d be able to achieve would still be the celestial kingdom, but we would live there as spirits and ministering angels to others.

The others were similar to that. The terrestrial kingdom, but we lived there as spirits. The telestral kingdom, but we would live there as spirits. Option E was an interesting one. The highest degree of glory we’d be able to achieve would be no degree of glory. We would all be sons and daughters of perdition subject to Satan. Then you got this last one, which I thought was funny. If Jesus had either become unworthy or unwilling, God would have risen up another to be the savior. In other words, God had a plan B ready just in case. It was interesting. We had this discussion back and forth, what everybody thought. One guy was just adament that it was option F. He’s like, God wouldn’t let that happen to us. I understand that. Again, this is all so It’s not hypothetical. But he’s like, No, God had a plan B ready just in case. And another guy raised his hand. He was just like, So a backup Jesus? He goes, Is there some guy tossing the football around waiting for this? If Jesus messes up, I’m ready to come in. He goes, God is not a plan B God in the sense that he’s crossing his fingers going, Hey, okay, let’s just hope this plan works.

That was an interesting way to look at this. When you get all the way through all of this, there is only one correct option, and very few people got it right, including myself. I did I did not get it right. Now, before the teacher gave the correct answer, he wrote on the board second Nephite 9:6-10. Now, second Nephite 9 is an incredibly awesome, very doctrinally deep chapter here. But look at what this teaches to us as if there were no atonement that had been performed for us. For as death hath passed upon all men to fulfill the merciful plan of the great creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall, and the fall came by reason of transgression. And because man became fallen, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement, save it should be an infinite atonement. This corruption could not put on in corruption. This is very much like a part 2 of second Nephite 2, where we’re introduced to the fall. Wherefore, the first judgment which came unto man must need to have remained to an endless duration, and if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth to rise no more.

Oh, the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace. For behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the eternal God, and to become the devil, to rise no more. Our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut off from the presence of our God, to remain with the Father of lies in misery, like unto himself. And so the teacher had us read those verses, and he said, The correct option here, my friends, is E. The highest degree we would be able to would be no degree of glory. We would all be sons and daughters of perdition, subject to Satan. Not a lot of people got that answer right. I’ve used this quiz before in other gospel doctrine classes and things, and very few people get it right. But if we truly understand that there was, like our wonderful Him, 1:94, there is a green hill far away. There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only, meaning Jesus Christ, he only could unlock the gate to heaven and let us in.

If there were no Jesus, there was no atonement, we would all be hellbound. We would be just like Satan. That is why you see verse number 10 of second Nephi 9, Oh, how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth away for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster. Yey, that monster Death and Hell, which I call the death of the body and also the death of the spirit. Now, with that in mind, like I said, second Nephi 9, such a doctrinal powerhouse chapter. Great quote here from Joseph Fielding Smith. This chapter is one of the most enlightening discourses ever delivered in regard to the Atonement. It should be carefully read by every person seeking salvation. Now, you saw the first of those verses that Jacob was really trying to put emphasis on the Atonement. Verse number 8, Oh, the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace. ‘ Verse number 10, Oh, how great the goodness of our God who prepareth away for our escape. You see the word ‘oh’. I mean, it’s a letter, but here it’s Jacob just expressing this extreme gratitude. The word ‘oh’ is mentioned 12 times in this chapter as we’re going through trying to understand why the Atonement It is such a necessary part here and why we should be so grateful for Jesus Christ.

You have verse number 13, Oh, how great the plan of our God. Verse 17, Oh, the greatness and the justice of our God. Verse 19, going along with that, Oh, the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy one of Israel, for he delivereth his saints from that awful monster, the devil, and death, and hell, and the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, which is endless torment. You don’t see the word monster very often in scripture. Jacob mentions this a lot when he is referring to this horrible two-headed monster of death and hell, and Jesus Christ overcame both of them. Oh, how great the Holiness of our God, for he knoweth all things. There is not anything save he knows it. And with that said, you have the opposite of that, oh. This chapter also has woes in them as well. Now, this one a lot of people are familiar with. Verses 28 and 29. Oh, that cunning plan of the evil one. Oh, the vainness and the frailties and the foolishness of men. When they are learned, they think they are wise, and they hearken not into the counsel ‘Councils of God, for they set it aside supposing they know of themselves.

Wherefore? Their wisdom is foolishness, and it profiteth them not, and they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken into the counsels of God. Now, one of my favorite O’s in this chapter is verse 39, and I have heard this given so many times in seminary devotionals over the years. Oh, my beloved Breothren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember to be carnally minded as and to be spiritually minded is life eternal. Now, I have had many seminary students over the years give this. Like I said, they quote this verse and it’s awesome. Then they will focus on this idea of to be spiritually minded is life eternal. You put those together. Spiritually minded is life eternal. You’ve got the word smile right there. Then they’re just like, I love how this says smile. Now, honestly, I don’t think that Jacob in the original Reformed Egyptian necessarily meant to spell out the word smile. I’m pretty sure that didn’t work out that way. But I do love the fact that when people read this, they talk about how good it is to follow the savior Jesus Christ and how wonderful the Atonement is.

Now, there’s several more “Ohs” in this chapter. Verse number 40, Oh, my beloved Breothen, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Verse 41, Oh, then, my beloved brother, and come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy one of Israel, and he employeth no servant there, and there is none other way, save it be by the gate. Verse 45, Oh my beloved brother, and a turn away from your sins, shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast. Come unto the Lord, who is the rock of your salvation. I love this chapter. We could spend an entire week just on the basic parts of this particular chapter that Jacob teaches to you and I. This is such a phenomenal chapter. I love what it teaches about the Atonement and should be read by every person seeking salvation. I love this chapter and I’m grateful for it, and it makes me smile.


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